Wal-Mart is opening locations still (how are there so many…) and the newest one in my area features an expanded beauty section that includes brands like e.l.f. and Real Techniques. One day, I went to check out their Real Techniques selection and noticed a brand I wasn’t familiar with…LAB2? Who is this? At a glance, they seemed to have pretty clean, surprisingly professional-looking packaging and are priced in a very wallet-friendly drugstore price-point.. I snapped a picture to remind myself to look into them.
LAB2, which is actually written out, “L.A.B.²,” and pronounced, “LAB-squared,” stands for Live and Breathe Beauty.
Later, I went to look them up, never having seen them – I couldn’t locate a website, but I did find this entry on Justia Trademarks for the brand name, indicating that the rights are held by Pacific World Corporation – who also owns Sensationail, as it turns out, as well as some other drugstore beauty tool brands. Searching, “LAB Brushes,” or, “Live and Breathe Beauty Brushes,” or, “Live and Breathe Beauty,” at the time brought up nothing.
Although I didn’t come up with much about the brand, I DID find a YouTube Channel for LAB2, which features a few brief demo/tutorial videos and an intro to the brand. They don’t seem to have much else in the way of branding or social media presence, however.
Because I’m still on the hunt of The One Angled Liner Brush to Rule Them All, I picked up the LAB2 Angled Brow and Eyeliner Brush. Checking it out without opening the packaging, the synthetic bristles of the brush appeared to be cut with a greater level of precision than, say the e.l.f. angled liner brush. I figured that a $6 brush wouldn’t result in overwhelming disappointment if it didn’t work out.
UPDATE 2/26/2015: The proper name of this brush is the Get In Shape Brow & Eyeliner Brush!
It wasn’t until I bought the LAB2 Angled Brow and Eyeliner Brush that I learned, courtesy of the back of the box, that their site is Lab2Beauty.com – hopefully their web team gets them sorted out so they’re actually listed in web searches, because none of those things brought up any specific company info.
All of the brushes in the collection feature synthetic bristles – their spin on it is called, “FiberLuxe,” which sounds to me a lot of marketing BS, but it claims to provide, “superior pigment pick-up and optimal release.”
Anyway, moving on – box in hand, my initial impression of the packaging remained the same. The sturdy packaging has a clear window so you can see the brush and has a clean, professional layout.
The back tells you about what the brush is specifically, as well as its intended use(s). It goes on to pitch their FiberLuxe bristles and show a picture of what, to me, looks like one of those finger-torture devices, or like simulations of what a hair looks like when you look at it with a microscope. It has an area they suggest you cut out in case you forget what the hell you’re doing or what the brush is best for.
Oh, and the elusive website URL!
Fortunately, in case you neglect to snip out that handy section from the back, the LAB2 Angled Brow and Eyeliner brush handle reminds you what its purpose in life is. Snark aside, that isn’t a bad thing – if the printing actually stays on the slightly rubberized handle, that would impress me.
Speaking of the handle, the LAB2 Angled Brow and Eyeliner brush does have a smooth rubberized coating – it’s actually very similar to the outside of the Naked2 Basics palette. It makes it easy to hold onto without any weird gimmicky so-called ergonomics that in reality make handling awkward. I dig it.
Here it is laid against one of those Post-It notepads. Pretty standard length for a brush.
Overall, the brush is lightweight. I do like a little more heft to the handles, but for $6 for the LAB2 Angled Brow and Eyeliner Brush – so far so good. Great, even.
And here’s a close-up of the bristles. I tried like hell to get a shot down the barrel of the brush so I could show you the thickness of the bristles (to give you an idea of how thin your lines could be), too, but I am not a photography wizard and I couldn’t make it happen. The bristles are slightly thinner than the Sonia Kashuk no. 27 brush ($9).
Since buying it, I have tried it out in both advised capacities – liner and brows. I’ve used my favorite gel liner from Maybelline and with Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade for my brows.
Verdict? This LAB2 Angled Brow and Eyeliner brush absolutely IS worth it. For $6 are you joking?
It passed my gel liner test with flying colors, producing a sharp, clean line – it really beat the pants off the e.l.f. Studio Angled Liner brush ($3) if we’re talking about budget-friendly tools. I’m not 100% sure if I like it more for liner than my Sonia Kashuk no. 27 but at least as good as. It was easy to work with, easy to get into my lashline, easy to create a clean wing with without having to go back and clean up (unless I was doing shoddy work). I don’t feel that it deposited product or pigment on my skin any better than any other synthetic bristle angled brush I own, though.
It performs exceptionally well with my Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade, effortlessly allowing me to flesh out the naturally sparse areas of my brows. I didn’t have to fuss with it, I didn’t have to blend it for five minutes. It did better than my Sonia Kashuk no. 27 brush for my brows, and far better than my bdellium tools 760 (which is what I used most often prior). I still haven’t tried the Anastasia no. 12 brush, but it is no longer as high on my list of things to try now that I have this. (I still will, but it’s been knocked down a few pegs, priority-wise.)
I haven’t seen the LAB2 Angled Brow and Eyeliner Brush or any other LAB2 brushes anywhere buy Wal-Mart so far, so I’m not sure if it is an exclusive deal or what; the brand’s site lacks information on that. The brushes range from $6 for single eye brushes through $18 for multi-brush sets.
I look forward to trying other brushes from L.A.B.² – if they’re all as good as this one, they’re a great value.
Now here’s my only beef with it – on the side of the package there are a few symbols. One has a heart and says it is made with love. Another has a molecule and says that it is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested. The third has a bunny silhouette (but not the Leaping Bunny) and says that it does not have any animal-derived components. They are synthetic bristles, that makes sense. I just find the wording odd – it doesn’t say, “Cruelty Free,” and if you check the back you will find that these brushes are manufactured in China. I’m not sure (only because I do not exclusively buy cruelty free) about tools, but I know that actual cosmetic items that are SOLD in China (not sure if manufactured there has the same rules) are required to be tested on animals because…well, China.
Like I said, I’m not sure about the regulations if the brushes are only manufactured and not sold there, or if the regulations apply to tools as well as products, but the wording and logo are a little eyebrow-raising to me…just be straightforward about it, it kind of seems like they’re trying to pull one over on those who don’t scrutinize their items as heavily. Perhaps a reader that is more versed in those matters can let me know in the comments.